Most stocks have experienced very sharp drops as the markets have plummeted over economic concerns. However, biotechs have been one of the relatively strong sectors because they are not as economically sensitive as other companies. These dirt-cheap biotech companies all have interesting products in the pipeline which could become major catalysts in the future. The lower-priced stocks tend to have more risk, but far more potential reward. Positive results on clinical trials, partnership agreements, and other news are just some of the catalysts that could send these stocks much higher. Below, I detail why these biotech stocks could be poised for major gains in the near future.
What's really impressive and promising is that a number of these biotech stocks are starting to decouple from the rest of the market and begin to rebound even as the market declines. Some of these stocks have analyst price targets that support even more than a double or triple in the next 12 months or so. Here are the stocks that could double or triple anytime between now and the end of 2012:
Inhibitex, Inc. (NASDAQ:INHX) is trading around $3.15. Inhibitex is a biotechnology company based in Georgia. This company is working on treatments for shingles (FV-100) and hepatitis C (INX-189). Inhibitex has a promising pipeline and a partnership with Pfizer. These shares have traded in a range between $1.74 to $5.23 in the last 52 weeks. The 50-day moving average is $3.69 and the 200-day moving average is $3.33. An analyst at Canncord Genuity recently raised the price target on Inhibitex shares to $7. A Barrons.com article states, "For Inhibitex, Farmer raised his target price from $5 to $7, on the release of positive seven-day dosing data from a Phase Ib trial evaluating INX-189 for treatment of hepatitis C virus infection. 'Though early, we think these data further strengthen the value proposition of INX-189 and support further evaluation in longer-term combination HCV trials,' he wrote in a research note. Clinical-stage nucs like INX-189 will likely form the backbone of future HCV therapy, in our view, and scarcity could make INX-189 a highly coveted asset once longer-term safety trials are complete.”
Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRX) shares are trading for about $1.29. Catalyst is working on a $10 million clinical trial, the majority of which (about $7.2 million) is being paid by the government. The trial is for CPP-109, "Vigabatrin" to treat cocaine addiction. CPP-109 has been granted "Fast Track" status by the FDA for the treatment of cocaine addiction; this status indicates that the FDA has recognized that CPP-109 is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition for which there is no effective treatment and which demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs. Two drugs from Reckitt Benckiser have achieved blockbuster status with combined U.S. sales of over $1 billion. This shows that Catalyst has the potential to bring a blockbuster drug to market. It would not be surprising to see an announcement of a major partnership agreement which is a goal this company has set for 2011. An agreement to partner with a major pharmaceutical company would potentially send this stock soaring from current levels. Analysts at Cowen initiated coverage on Catalyst with an "outperform" rating. Depending on the analyst, price targets for CPRX range from $4 to $7 per share. Reaching the lower target of $4 would be a triple from current levels.
Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPTR) is trading around $11.93. Optimer is a biotechnology company, based in California. This company is working on treatments for gastrointestinal infections and other diseases. Optimer has partnerships with major pharma companies. These shares have traded in a range between $6.81 to $14.74 in the last 52 weeks. The 50-day moving average is $10.03 and the 200-day moving average is $11.56. Analysts at Oppenheimer have an outperform rating and a $19 price target on OPTR shares. This stock has been rebounding sharply higher even in a very weak market. I would wait for some pullbacks before considering an investment. Buying under $10 will get about a double if OPTR shares hit the analyst price target of $19.
Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (NYSEMKT:RNN) is trading around $1.15. Rexahn is a biotechnology company based in Maryland. This company is working on treatments for cancer, central nervous system disorders, sexual dysfunction, and other medical problems. These shares have traded in a range between 89 cents to $1.19 in the last 52 weeks. The 50-day moving average is $1.10 and the 200-day moving average is $1.25. Analysts at Brean Murray set a price target at $3 for RNN shares. If the price target of $3 is reached, investors buying now will gain nearly 300%. This stock has started to rebound sharply from recent lows, even as the market continues to tumble.
AEterna Zentaris (NASDAQ:AEZS) is trading around $1.93. AEterna is a biotechnology company based in Canada. This company is working on various treatments for cancer. These shares have traded in a range between $1.07 to $2.68 in the last 52 weeks. The 50-day moving average is $2 and the 200-day moving average is $1.92. Analysts at Oppenheimer have an outperform rating and a $5.50 price target on AEZS shares. This company has a very solid balance sheet with plenty of cash to fund pipeline development.
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:KERX) is trading around $3.85. Keryx is a biotechnology company based in New York. These shares have traded in a 52-week range between $2.98 to $5.91. The 50-day moving average is $4.18 and the 200-day moving average is $4.50. This company has two candidates -- "Perifosine" for multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer, and "Zerenex" which targets hyperphosphatemia in patients with end-stage renal disease -- both of which are currently in Phase III trials. MLV Capital has a buy rating on KERX with an $18 price target. If the price target of $18 is reached, investors buying now will gain over 400%.
Biosante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BPAX) is trading around $2.75. Biosante is a biotechnology company based in Illinois. These shares have traded in a 52-week range between $1.30 to $4.02. The 50-day moving average is $2.86 and the 200-day moving average is $2.28. BPAX has a licensing agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TEVA) for Bio-T-Gel, which treats low testosterone levels. BPAX shares are acting very strong and have bounced off the 200-day moving average and climbed higher in the face of very weak markets. BPAX looks like a solid buy on dips to about $2.60 or lower, and could run to new 52-week highs later this year.
Data sourced from Yahoo Finance and Insidercow.com.
Disclosure: I am long CPRX.
Additional disclosure: I may buy all of these stocks soon.
Disclaimer: The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made. Rougemont is not a registered investment advisor and does not provide specific investment advice. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only.